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Longest Unfinished Project

TOH reader Aaron F. in Omaha, Nebraska writes:

Has TOH ever invited readers to submit their longest-standing incomplete DIY project? I gotta believe I’d be one of the finalists. You might receive some rather hilarious accounts of tool-toting weekend warriors who have “whenareyagonnafinish”-itis.

Well, Aaron, consider TOH readers and web users--including yourself--invited. Share your stories by replying to this thread.

Re: Longest Unfinished Project - Master Bath

I have an 8 x 10 master bath complete tear out that I have been working on since Oct 2007. I gutted the room, cut a massive hole in the master bedroom wall for french doors and then the project came to screeching halt.

The jacuzzi tub requires 2 legs in my circuit box in the attic and I need to do extensive plumbing alterations to accommodate the tub/sinks. I also have to raise the tub off of the floor 4 inches for room to run the sink drain.

The thing that started the beginning of the end of this project is that my shoulders have calcium deposits that are pinching a nerve and my knees have deteriorated to bone on bone and I can no longer climb a ladder or bend/stoop for even short periods to lay tile or even lift more than a few pounds without a great deal of pain. I bought almost everything needed and even called a plumber to help get the project along, but with an estimate of $1500.00 for 2 hours worth of copper work, I said NO WAY! So my master bath sits idle. Every day I look at it and say to myself that maybe tomorrow if I don't hurt so bad, I will try to do something. So far after 2 years, not one single day of relief has come nor has one single tile been laid. I fear that it will never get done at this point. I had such great plans. It just isn't fair.

I will try to upload pics.

Here is the last bathroom remodel I did for my GF from March to Sept of 2007. It took almost 6 months to do because even then, my health was going down hill. The cabinets are all hand done red oak made from scratch and no previous experience.

Re: Longest Unfinished Project

Well, you asked for it. My husband and I literally built our house. We lived in a summer camping trailer from October through April(in New England) without heat or running water in order to be on site. Lovely, don't recommend it.
Once we had heat and running water in the house we moved in and methodically completed the first floor and rough plumbed the second floor. This space is intended to be the master bedroom suite and an office. That is after 28 YEARS and counting. It is insulated (mostly),the sub floor is in, and most of the lighting.
Hope I live to see the completion, it should be nice.

Re: Longest Unfinished Project

I started removing wall paper in a bathroom in June 2005. The border in one part is still up and the wall paper in another is still there because I was too short to reach either. I have a step ladder now and it's still not done.

A. Spruce
Re: Longest Unfinished Project
debbysewn wrote:

I started removing wall paper in a bathroom in June 2005. The border in one part is still up and the wall paper in another is still there because I was too short to reach either. I have a step ladder now and it's still not done.

Isn't that what you are supposed to keep boys around for? To reach the high stuff, lift the heavy stuff, and blame for projects never getting done? ;):p:D

Re: Longest Unfinished Project

In 1970, my parents moved into the house where I was born & grew up. At the time they moved in, the front doorknob was broken. Oh, it worked fine if you turned it BEFORE you pulled the door open, but if you pulled before you turned, the knob would come off in your hand. (You'd be surprised how many people pull and then turn.) We always got great enjoyment watching guests turn ashen as they thought they broke our doorknob.

Nearly 40 years later, my brother and his family now live in the house. The doorknob is still broken.

Re: Longest Unfinished Project

Well I was very excited when I read Aaron's letter and thought for sure that we had the longest unfinished project but obviously we are not alone and I am rather thankful for that!

Our project began in 1998 with the purchasing of an old dance hall, attaching it to our existing story and a half house and starting the slow but amazing progression from neighbourhood eyesore to quite a nice looking place. We made all of our own house plans (which I do not advise), worked right alongside carpenters and construction workers and paid cash as we went along.

I have attached a few photos that I hope you can see. Back then we did not have any digital camera so these are the best I have and to tell you the truth I have not shown you the absolute worst of the worst!!

The final picture shows that we are still unfinished on the outside as we have not decided on stone or brick to compliment the siding which was completed back in 2002!

Needless to say the inside is also not quite finished either (almost) but that would be another whole story.

Our family of four has lived through and worked together (and not always happily) on our 'home' project all these years and we are much more patient and appreciative after doing so. We have subscribed to This Old House all these years which gave us many ideas and inspirations as well as some much needed humor to make it through to another day.

Thanks for listening and to all of you with your fabulous home improvement stories :)

Re: Longest Unfinished Project

It's funny how people are wired. Some people will let projects run on forever, some will start another before finishing the first, and some will just dig in and get things done rather quickly.

I've seen some people who are not afraid to start the demo process, but then don't know where to turn once that's done, and the project sits.

Takes all kinds of people in the world to keep things interesting, eh?

Re: Longest Unfinished Project
A. Spruce wrote:

Isn't that what you are supposed to keep boys around for? To reach the high stuff, lift the heavy stuff, and blame for projects never getting done? ;):p:D

Not around my house. We had an agreement, I would take care of the house and the pool he would tend the gardens, and push mow... well... I now mow too because I like using the riding lawn mower the push mow because I hate to see the job unfinished.

You know what else he's good for Sprucie, laughing and asking if I'll be mad if he gets a picture of me stuck in the bottom of the pool. See, "The Polywog Hater's Award" in the 2008 Black and Blue Thumb Awards, TOH Magazine October, 2008.

Re: Longest Unfinished Project

Our house was built approximately 100 years ago. It was built by my husbands grandfather Christian Kirk a Danish “finish” carpenter when this area was a frontier wilderness compared to California at the time. I could go on with the history but the object of this story is the longest project.

After moving the house from the center of the land to enable the family to subdivide the property Christian built a third floor with tiny little rooms but never completed it. He added the last exterior dormer at the age of 83. He passed the unfinished project on to his son Edward Ramone Kirk who did a little bit but did not make it a priority. Along came my husband in 1982 Edward Redman Kirk. So far he has managed to:

1. take out interior walls
2. take out the chimney
3. wired the third floor
4. extended the a/c to third floor
5. worked on a bathroom
6. put up some drywall
7. worked on a balcony

My husband is a young 73 years old but has not completed this project. I must say it is slowing down because getting drywall to the third floor is very problematic. He also uses this as he alternate workshop. Help!

Granddaddy started this project but my husband can’t finish it. This has to be the longest project.

Sheren Kirk

Joy Albright
Re: Longest Unfinished Project

We started an addition to our house when our children were about 2yrs and 4 yrs old. They are now 26 and 28 and we have two grandchildren.
The house is still not done.
There are no baseboards in the family room and in the bathroom.
What was once a bathroom and a porch area in the original house is now a "junk room" and storage area. The plumbing has been removed from the bathroom. We didn't want to do the work needed on it because we were going to replace it anyway. The kitchen was going to be enlarged and remodeled. That has never happened.
My entire kitchen measures 8 1/2 feet by 11 feet.
To make matters worse we have no basement. We have very little storage area.
We have windows that have no trim on them. We have a large row of windows on the south side of the house that were to be a solar collection unit which never worked right. There is also sheet rock that has never been finished and painted.
I used to tease my husband that he was going to finish it for his next wife. I friend told me to tell him that my next husband was going to finish it for me.
It may not look like much but it is paid for and it is the home where he have lived for almost 30 years and raised our family.


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